Welcome to Quick Shift, which provides a preview of each of the 20 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League teams, with insights from their respective general manager/head coach heading into the regular season. Next is the Fernie Ghostriders in the Eddie Mountain division. The Ghostriders finished fourth in their division with a record of 23-14-5-2 and lost in the second round of the KIJHL Teck Cup playoffs to Kimberley. Ghostriders Head Coach-GM Ty Valin answered questions about his team.
Did you have a good recruiting off-season?
I’m definitely happy with the guys that are here. First-year Liam Munro has been extremely good for us in his play and we hope he takes a step moving into the regular season. Munro is very coachable and has a lot of speed and a great shot. That is a deadly combination and he can find those soft areas and get himself open for the puck. He can create something from nothing.
Note: Munro played for the Calgary Northstars U18AAA and had 14 points in 38 games.
Local forward Joshua Kallies (Cranbrook Bucks U18) has been good and Kyler Watson just joined us and possesses a deadly shot. Joseph Krukuski is finding his way and is a very shifty, gritty forward who suits our style of play.
On the blueline, we have Travis Raisanen, Easton Zenko and Carter Hartt, who have been good for us.
What do you like about the group of players returning who will play a big part on your team?
They know the expectations and are leading the way by example and showing the young guys and new additions how we do things.
Taylor Haggerty (41 points in 43 games/ nine points in 13 KIJHL Teck Cup games), who is entering his second year, was a good player for us last year and he has taken a step and is quicker. Haggerty was selected to play in the BCHC Top Prospects game but couldn’t play because of illness.
Goalie Aiden Kruhlak (eight wins, .914 save percentage/ seven playoff wins, .929 SP) is back for his second year and has been really good. He was lights out for us last year and is excited to get the season going.
A lot of our returning guys have their sights set on a goal. We were close last year, but they understand it wasn’t our time. We just weren’t ready yet.
What were some key areas of success achieved last season that the organization wants to build on?
We went through a big shift last year with culture and identity in the locker room and that has been a focus all summer. We have a new group of leaders, the shift keeps moving forward. These guys get it and are embracing it. This group is working extremely hard to leave a legacy for when they are done that is positive.